1. Dear “Weird Al,” we’re really glad you never became an architect

  2. "There is no such thing as subculture in 2014."
Imagine a dystopian cocktail of Tim Hecker and Perfect Pussy, and that kind of gives you an idea about noise duo York Factory Complaint. 
Photo: Gillian Bowling

    "There is no such thing as subculture in 2014."

    Imagine a dystopian cocktail of Tim Hecker and Perfect Pussy, and that kind of gives you an idea about noise duo York Factory Complaint

    Photo: Gillian Bowling

  3. Sia doesn’t actually read music, and says she barely can crank out a chord or two on the piano. So, a lot of times, Sia will just scat until words take shape

  4. ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: Do you find — cause a lot of your music, it just rips through you. You choose these horns of life, you know, like these crazy soul-laden, thick, melodic, fat-sounding, drums is just sitting in the right place.

    PETE ROCK: Know what it was? I was musically charged, man. I had some adrenaline going on then. I’m serious, ever since I — I think after I met James Brown as a kid. I was seven years old.

    MUHAMMAD: You met James Brown?

    PETE ROCK: Yeah, and I shook his hand. Me and my younger brother, yo.

    Pete Rock on Microphone Check

  5. ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: What inspires you outside of maybe the obvious of just living and breathing. Like what’s the purpose you get from making music or stepping up to a microphone?

    AB-SOUL: I think it’s simply that — I could probably honestly tell you that I’ve learned the bulk of what I know from hip-hop music. You understand what I’m saying? Like I learned — from listening to hip-hop music, I learned about things that I would soon learn about as an adult, from listening to it as a child. And that’s just amazing to me; that’s just remarkable.

    So I want to give that back. I want somebody to feel like that made me feel. Like, “What does that mean? What did he mean by that? It sounded like he said it like I should have known what it meant.” Like, “I’m late.” You get what I’m saying? That’s what I got from hip-hop, and so I just want to give that right back.

    Ab-Soul on Microphone Check

  6. BRITT DANIEL: Well, Jonathan Fisk was a character in a song from [2002’s] Kill the Moonlight. And it was based on a guy who used to beat me up as I was walking home from middle school. And so when I’m writing this song — this new song, “They Want My Soul,” about, you could say soul-suckers in general — he was one of the people that came up. It’s a song about religious pretenders, manipulators, educated folksingers, people that bring me down. And Jonathan Fisk was one of them, for sure.
ROBIN HILTON: Have you looked for him on Facebook, Google to see what he’s up to now?
DANIEL: We actually became friends later.
HILTON: Oh.
BOB BOILEN: Oh, that’s beautiful.
DANIEL: Believe it or not. He became a big Spoon fan. He did. He came to a lot of shows. He really went through a change in high school. And then, by the time he was in college, all the people from my high school ended up knowing each other, ‘cause everybody just basically moved to Austin. And so I was around this dude for a good five, 10 years after.
Hear snippets of the new Spoon album, They Want My Soul, in an All Songs Considered interview. 
Photo: Tom Hines

    BRITT DANIEL: Well, Jonathan Fisk was a character in a song from [2002’s] Kill the Moonlight. And it was based on a guy who used to beat me up as I was walking home from middle school. And so when I’m writing this song — this new song, “They Want My Soul,” about, you could say soul-suckers in general — he was one of the people that came up. It’s a song about religious pretenders, manipulators, educated folksingers, people that bring me down. And Jonathan Fisk was one of them, for sure.

    ROBIN HILTON: Have you looked for him on Facebook, Google to see what he’s up to now?

    DANIEL: We actually became friends later.

    HILTON: Oh.

    BOB BOILEN: Oh, that’s beautiful.

    DANIEL: Believe it or not. He became a big Spoon fan. He did. He came to a lot of shows. He really went through a change in high school. And then, by the time he was in college, all the people from my high school ended up knowing each other, ‘cause everybody just basically moved to Austin. And so I was around this dude for a good five, 10 years after.

    Hear snippets of the new Spoon album, They Want My Soul, in an All Songs Considered interview

    Photo: Tom Hines

  7. With Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould helped invent alt-rock, and he’s kept innovating ever since. Read the extended NPR interview

    Photo: Jay Blakesberg

  8. Hear a rare interview with composer Arvo Pärt, stream a live concert from The Met’s Temple of Dendur tonight, 7 p.m. ET, 

    Photo: Betty Freema

  9. At the close of Microphone Check's onstage conversation with the producer and DJ Mannie Fresh, he took to the decks to demonstrate what he meant. (You’re gonna want to hear Mannie bounce Hall & Oates, trust me.)

  10. Read: The violinist and songwriter Owen Pallett explains the tensions at work in his highly personal new solo album.